Beneath the common-sense understandings that some boys are sporty and some are not lies a complex suite of identity positions. For those that manage to have their identity confirmed within the powerful sporting discourses that dominate the masculinity landscape, the path to peer acceptance is a clearer one. Conversely, for boys that have their identity diminished by these same discourses, the consequences can be quite dramatic. While physical and athletic prowess are clearly prominent vectors in this sorting process there is a range of other personal and social conditions that impact such trajectories. Built on narrative methodological approaches, this chapter draws on research conducted in a range of settings to describe some of the ways young males understand and enact sporting masculinities. Through a series of research narratives I present the voices of a number of young males as they navigate their identities within and against dominant sporting discourses. To help make sense of the identity practices contained within these narratives a theoretical leaning towards ambivalence will be engaged. Drawing on the work of Foucault, the formation of a masculine sporting identity can be understood as the development of a specific relationship with oneself and with others. Within this framework, sporting identities, like all other identities, are viewed as a process not a state.
Field of Research
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified 170105 Gender Psychology
Socio Economic Objective
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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